Chrétien receives honour

Jean Chrétien insists he’s still just the little guy from Shawinigan despite receiving one of the world’s most prestigious and exclusive honours.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II presents the Order of Merit to former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien

Jean Chrétien insists he’s still just the little guy from Shawinigan despite receiving one of the world’s most prestigious and exclusive honours.

The former prime minister, who once forced news mogul Conrad Black to choose between a British lordship and his Canadian citizenship, was invested Tuesday with the Order of Merit by the Queen.

Chrétien is only the fourth Canadian — joining neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield and former prime ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Lester Pearson — to receive the award, a “gift from the sovereign.”

It places him with the likes of Florence Nightingale, the late Mother Teresa and former South African president Nelson Mandela, along with playwright Tom Stoppard and broadcaster David Attenborough.

The award is given to those who show “exceptional distinction” in the arts, learning, sciences and public service. Only 24 living members hold the order at any given time.

In a telephone interview shortly after the private investiture at Buckingham Palace, Chrétien acknowledged he never dreamed he’d be chosen to join such exalted company.

“Yes, it’s very amazing. What can I say? It’s amazing,” he said.

Still, Chrétien noted that he’s not entitled to any privileges or title as a result of the honour. Nor does he want any.

“It is an honour. You know, I have the Order of Canada (too). That doesn’t make me a different type of Canadian than you. I just have exactly the same rank in society and if I go in the hospital, you know me, if I’m No. 10, I wait to be the tenth to come through the gate.”

Just Posted

Red Deer mall repurposes former Sears location

The Great Indoors Market at Bower officially launches Nov. 10

Red Deer-area businesses prepare for economic boost from Canadian Finals Rodeo

Hotels, restaurants, gift shops get ready for rodeo fans

Sylvan Lake considering banning charcoal barbecues in lakefront parks

Town council wants more information on concerns about charcoal barbecues and over-sized tents

Winter Games relocates its Volunteer Centre

Now open at Bower Place in Red Deer

Drouin scores deciding goal as Canadiens hold off Flames in 3-2 win

MONTREAL — Flames goalie David Rittich did everything he could to keep… Continue reading

Coalition of consumer groups calls for new code of conduct for telecom sales

A new government-backed code of conduct is needed to protect consumers from… Continue reading

Canadian National Railway rakes in record revenues amid concerns over capacity

MONTREAL — Canadian National Railway Co. says it raked in the highest… Continue reading

Alberta Party candidates set for Red Deer

The Alberta Party will have candidates running in both Red Deer-South and… Continue reading

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Woody Baron co-authors children’s book

TORONTO — Woody Baron finds the spectre of tangling with a hulking… Continue reading

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

Most Read